When Do You Feel The Most Like Yourself?

ca522f9ecf118773ecf873d5067a33f6.jpgThis is such a powerful drawing, the way it expresses so many different messages. When I look at it, it gives me a sense of disguise, pretending to be someone else, changing our appearances, thinking in different ways, seeing things from different minds (and perspectives), the different sides of our personality, feeling disconnected from our mind and our body or being slightly (or a lot) different when we’re with certain people. I’ve previously written about being yourself here and here because one of the most important advice that’s always stuck with me is to be yourself.

At the same time, I definitely feel I am someone that hides parts of my personality with certain people, even when I’m being myself. I’m sure most people will be able to relate to this, as we don’t tend to reveal all of ourselves to just anybody. The people I feel most myself with would definitely be my family, Mr Penguin and very close friends. For example, when I was living at home, I’d sing and dance around the house without a care in the world. I was as silly as I am, or as talkative, quiet and strange as can be. When I live with other people I don’t know well, that part of me is not shown.

The moments I feel completely myself is when I sit alone, write in my diary, go for a long walk, talk with a loved one or read a book. It’s when I stare out the window doing nothing, drink quietly at a cafe, cook a meal, stare at flowers, be my silly self, sitting in the library, spy on a little sparrow, laugh with friends or have a meaningful conversation with someone. Feeling myself is when I simply talk the way I do, walk the way I walk, laugh however quiet or loud, see the world around me and remember all the things I’m grateful for. It’s moments when I speak my mind, stand up for myself and stay true to my values.

Perhaps you might feel the most yourself when you do something you love. It might be playing an instrument, playing a sport, being creative through drawing, dancing or sewing, teaching or watching a movie. It might be when you’re wearing something that you feel reflects who you are, or when you listen to a song. When I feel the most myself is when I feel comfortable, peaceful and confident. It’s when I am completely at ease and happy with who I am. It’s that feeling of not giving a fudge brownie about what anyone thinks.

We might feel most ourselves when listening to the sound of the waves going in and out, breathing in the morning fresh crisp air and walking in the rain with the sound of tapping against the umbrella. It’s natural to some extent to feel more yourself with certain people, but it’s unnatural to pretend, act another character or conform in order to fit in. There are certain people that bring out our silly, talkative, weird, strange, caring, random, quiet, loud, wise, funny and creative sides. So tell me, when do you feel the most yourself?

Art by Helena Perez Garcia

What Is In Your Heart Will Eventually Show

b0cf090eb3590b5ff3fbad58be448df6.jpgThe moments we show our true colours is when the layers are peeled back. No one, not anybody, can be truly defined by their job, their appearances, how much money they earn, what education they have, what car they have, what clothes they wear, what house they live in, how many friends they have or what photos they’ve taken. External definitions do not bring long term happiness. The true happiness that we feel are the moments we act with kindness and love, lend a helping hand or spend time with loved ones. It’s the kind that we feel in our heart. I recently listened to a video here, where he reminds us to be a selfless and loving person even in the heat of the moment.

We may have times where we’ve compared with someone else, and automatically it can bring ourselves down. No one can be happy by comparing themselves or pretending to be someone else. The video mentions about taking off the mask. This is something that really spoke to me because I believe so deeply in being true to yourself. At the same time, as an INFJ, I tend to be very private and not show many people the true me completely. As much as I value being oneself, there is that slight contradiction where I do strive to be myself, but at the same time, not everyone will see me for me at a glance. But perhaps only over time, if not years!

As much as I love writing about fashion, art, film and books, the one thing I feel most important to write about are topics like this. They are messages we need a reminder of. The way we value life shouldn’t be of materials or from the way things look. Everyone is capable of kindness and improving themselves. The kindness that’s important, is doing things even when not a soul will see it. We often judge things from the way they look. People may judge a person the way we judge a painting or a book cover at a glance. Things are most often not what they seem to appear. Imagine the way the water looks on the surface, with its dark blue peaceful ripples, and picture a beautiful magical ancient ruin beneath. There’s a story hidden inside that we don’t see at first.

The title reads What Is In Your Heart Will Eventually Show from how much beauty, we may or may not see in someone the more we become closer. What is in our heart shows through our actions. When people start to open up to each other, there’s a part of them that’s unlocked. Their personality and a certain rawness start showing more and more. A beautiful person is seen from their heart, where over time it opens like a sleeping rose. In 1 Peter 3-4 reads: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 

Art by Jiwoon Pak

A Few Things About Me To Tickle Your Fancy

tumblr_lobmukPhG41qbw5qso1_1280.jpgThere are several new people over the last few weeks that have visited my blog, and I thought it’d be good to share a few things about me to get to know me a little more. Please let me know something random, interesting, strange or quirky about you! This will sort of be a scattered pattern of words, as they pop into my head. Where are you from? This is one of the questions I get asked the most. I’m from New Zealand, but my parents are from Taiwan. What’s your favourite animal? I grew up on a farm, and am a huge animal lover! I am definitely more of a cat person than a dog person. I used to have two pet pigs who I adored.

What music do you listen to? I love listening to all kinds of music from classical, jazz, rock, pop to the good old classics. What’s your favourite food? I’m quite a sweet tooth but have slight allergies to milk. I love Japanese, Italian and Chinese food! What’s your favourite book? This is a tricky question. Pride & Prejudice is definitely one of my favourite books. I highly recommend reading it! What do you like to do in your free time? Anything from reading, writing, listening to music, going for walks, watching a movie or spending time with a loved one.

What’s one thing you used to bake a lot of? When I was living at home, I used to love baking brownies and the way it would make the whole house smell warm, toasty and chocolatey. What did you want to be growing up? When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist, zoologist, orchestral musician and writer. One of your pet peeves? People who put others down. Where would you like to travel? I’d love to travel to Japan and Italy some day. I learned Italian for almost two years, having a huge interest in the culture. Japan is a country I’ve always wanted to visit.

How would you describe yourself? Loving, kind hearted and passionate. I’m definitely someone who may seem shy at first, but am very friendly, quirky and caring at heart. As an INFJ and HSP, I sometimes give the impression that I prefer to be alone, but I do love talking to others and having really meaningful or funny conversations. What is one food you eat too much of? Oats, cereal and muesli (any breakfast food really!). I’m definitely a morning person and love to eat breakfast at any time of the day. Do you play any instruments? I play the piano, flute and a little bit of guitar. I also love to sing, but rarely am willing to sing in front of people.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? It’s not really a superpower, but the ability to read, write, speak and understand all the languages in the world would be truly amazing. What sports did you play in college? Hockey and swimming. I don’t consider myself a sporty person, but more of an artsy person. If you could be an animal, what would you be? A black panther, flying horse or a ginger cat. What is your favourite colour?  Yellow. It’s such a sunshine happy colour. The first thing I notice about someone. Their eyes, and the way they smile. What do you value? Many things. I value patience, kindness and being yourself.

If you’re curious to know how I came up with my blog name, you can read about it here. I share a few tips, thoughts and advice on my other blog here. If you’d like to read a little more, you can click the About Me page here.

image via

The Curiosity Of Noticing The Things Around Us

l.JPGA few months ago I wrote about learning from the past, planning for the future, and staying in the present. Curiosity makes me think of Alice in Wonderland, wondering into the Rabbit hole. It makes me think of adventure, exploring, experience and learning. When we’re a child, we’re always curious and constantly asking questions. Having curiosity is part of an education that lasts a lifetime. It’s the desire to learn and understand the world around us. We need to be present in order to truly live a fulfilling life.

When we’re curious about our surroundings, we’re more engaged and present. We don’t dwell on the past but focus on what’s happening in the now. It’s a spark that’s within all of us. A light that carries us and fuels us with energy. Imagine when you meet someone for the first time, you’re often curious to ask questions and know more about the person. Curiosity makes me think of a cat because they’re always very aware of their surroundings. In anything, we need balance. If we’re interacting with someone, it’s good to be curious, but not too much that we become intrusive or nosy.

I was walking into the city earlier this month, and there was live music playing. The band consist of a drummer, electric guitarist, bass player and singer. It was incredible to all experience standing there listening to the music. Some passerby would stop for a song or two to listen. I was curious to go to a jelly bar a week ago, held in a clothing store on High Street (below is a snapshot) I had a fig, honey and thyme jelly which was delicious. It was a lovely experience, and many people would wonder in wondering what event was happening. 17741046_430234223997531_433632794_n.jpgCuriosity is also important when we’re walking. When I wrote about the beauty of walking, I mentioned how walking creates awareness, presence and discovery into the unknown or a familiar environment. That is if we allow it to. We can give ourselves the choice to be aware and interested or be in a state of daydreaming and drifting. Curiosity in learning is largely seen as beneficial and important, as it makes our mind active, motivated, inspired, energetic and open to storing information. It encourages us to be creative and make new discoveries.

In socialising, it’s important, because it shows that you’re interested in the other person. Curiosity means living a far more fulfilling life, as opposed to a boring one. It broadens our mind and allows us to be more open minded about certain things. Curiosity can bring us out of our comfort zone and try something new. It means not being afraid to ask questions and having persistence in your goals. It can make us happier people because it makes us interested in life around us, the way the simple things like seeing a hedgehog walking across the garden could deeply amuse us as a child.

Photography by ! FlOrEcItA !

How To Improve Your Chinese Language Skills

7c71991f-36da-44d0-b63f-ff3239bb87cc.pngChinese is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. When you see the words themselves, each of them are like a picture. It is the most spoken language in the world by more than 1 billion people. I remember my Grandmother explaining to my sister and I the way each Chinese character are like a picture of the object. 火 means fire, 人 means person and 山 means mountain. If you look at them, they appear very much like the character itself. According to the NZ Chinese Language Week Trust, Chinese will be the third most common language spoken in New Zealand.

In order to improve a language, we must consistently speak it and expose ourselves to it. If you don’t speak the language with your family, it’s a good idea to find opportunities to speak it with someone. Try speaking it with a friend, language partner, on the phone or attending a Chinese event. The more you speak, the more you remember. A great app to add on your phone is Pleco. It’s a wonderful dictionary that’s easy to use. Try reading a small section of a book, text or magazine article and translate the words you don’t know by using Pleco (or your own dictionary).

Writing words down can also help you to remember what they look like. Learning and expanding your vocabulary is ultimately one of the ways to improve your skills. Listening is what we’re first exposed to when we’re a baby. We listen to the way our parents talk, and we imitate the words they speak. You can listen to Chinese music, watch a movie that speaks Mandarin, listen to a podcast or watch a Youtuber who speaks Chinese. Finding what works for you is important. Some may find certain Chinese language apps better than others. Some may work better by following a text book, taking lessons in class, having a private tutor or using an e-book.

Growing confidence in your skills is a wonderful thing. Improving is extremely rewarding. As something beneficial as Chinese, it can be encouraging to know that you will definitely be applying the language in many places. It’s a language that has a long history behind it. It is one of the oldest written language in the world. If you grew up reading Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah (I highly recommend the book!), she mentions: Chinese is a pictorial language, not a phonetic one. Our words come from images. The meaning of many characters is subtle and profound. Other words are poetic and even philosophical.

Photography of Ling BingBing by Sun Jun

The Ocean Of Blank Faces Walking In The City

]When we walk in the centre of the city, we’re surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar faces. Everyone’s walking towards somewhere for some reason. Sometimes I wonder in my mind, what’s happening in their lives. Amidst all the blank and neutral faces, I can’t always really tell. There’s this distant, emotionless and otherworldly expression. Then there are several people who might be using their phone, heads down and you have a game of dodging them. From the sea of crowds, there might be a sudden smile that forms or a laugh you hear in the distance.

On a grey day, the streets are silent, until a group of friends, family or travelers have a conversation nearby. You might hear a busker singing or the sound of rain dancing on the umbrellas. If you stare into a cafe, you might catch someone engaged in a conversation, a murmur of chatter, studying on their laptop or staring out the window. Walking is such an important part of our daily life that is often overlooked. It’s often seen as mundane and simply a means of getting us from point A to point B. Walking immerses us into the present and allows our thoughts to flow.

Walking on the streets means observing, daydreaming, wondering, people watching, thinking and sensing. The way we move and walk says a lot about who we are. Although, sometimes expressions can be deceiving. Perhaps you’ve heard of the resting face, and sometimes it can make one seem unapproachable. It can also be inaccurate, because many of us may have been asked if we’re okay, even on our best days. What is it about city life, that causes us to be so distant. From growing up in the countryside, it was natural to smile and say Good morning to a stranger. It was normal to see people you know, each time you head into town.

When we’re in a place with a larger population, many people keep to themselves. It’s also a sense of security, safety, time and focus. Some people are in a rush, some people are focused, some are talking on the phone and others are deep in thought (or daydreaming). There are moments when observing where I feel some people are more present than others. It’s a wonderful thing when you suddenly see a smile form and the crinkles around someones eyes, that makes one realise how much a smile creates light. Blank faces can often make our eyes appear empty.

It’s incredible to think how many people we walk past in a lifetime, knowing that we’ll never see them again or talk to them. We might see their faces in our subconscious when we dream, but there’s this gentle nudge that you’re not alone on this Earth. Everyone has a purpose. Then there’s  a lovely thought of how many times we may have subtly walked past or even encountered someone for weeks, months and years, that we later became friends with. Every person we have ever gotten to know, was once a stranger to us. They were once just a blank face in the sea of crowds.

That’s why it’s important to not judge a book by a cover. We can never really tell the content of someones character, until we truly take the time to get to know them. One way walking can be beneficial, is that it helps us for a moment to focus on the world, rather than ourselves. It reminds us to look around and take a breath of air. Thinking about the idea of blank faces, it makes me think of a white canvas. An artist can create something magical and colourful that brings so much emotion. In a way, we’re the artist in our lives, painting the strokes and textures, choosing what colours to paint with. The ocean of blank faces may seem unreadable, yet each face has such a unique and interesting story to tell.

image via

Some Of My Favourite Things In March 2017

451b521b5d3d01f55c839c8cd9bbeb8dAs each month farewells, it’s a gentle reminder of the importance of making the most of our time. Each month is like a chapter, with different stories and memories. Do you ever listen to a song repeatedly for a month, and then switch to a different one that really reflects how you’re feeling in that period of time? Here are a few of my favourite things this month!

Songs / Better Days, Electric Twist, Now Is The Start最好的安排, This Is Living, Slow Love, What A Beautiful Name, Lights Down Low.

Food / 葱油饼, 蘿蔔糕, Hubbards Light & Right Fejoa Cereal, Taro Bun, Sushi, Vegetarian Dumplings, Soba Noodles, Berries, Oats and Peaches.

Blogs / Empty, tere romances, frankie.b, well hello monday, the bright mornings, love from zar, Love, Lucy RebeccaI Accidently Ate The Whole Thing, Laura Bruj, Misty Prose.

Scent / Sweet smell of Jasmine flowers, Green Tea, freshly washed sheets, the beautiful morning clean air, a cats fur, walking past the Asian bakery. 0621b77d2cd6bbe75fe1f6ff5e2317bcArticles / Tiny Clay Creatures, Casual Denim Style, You Are What You Read新西兰航空的Dior空姐制服太有范了!

Movies / Midnight in Paris. The atmosphere, music and story all in beautiful Paris.  我的少女時代. This movie made me laugh and cry. It’s a great film.

Products / Natio sunscreen SPF 50+, Love Your Skin Manuka Honey Vitamin A Balm, Ecostore shampoo, Pears hand moisturiser, CROP facial moisturiser, Essano Coconut Body Wash.

Fashion / Black Turtlenecks, long sleeved shirts, cropped pants, loafers, black boots, gold jewellery, long skirts, tailored pants, minimal makeup.9949752eb6f75f06494055ffa0ea7c6fVideo / Biggest Lies & Problems of The Fashion Industry, What is pretty?, No One Knew I was Depressed, How I turned my life around.

Place / The Library, Parnell Rose Gardens, home in the comfort of my room, the little pathway surrounded by trees.

Artist / Yelena Bryksenkova. There’s something about her style that I find really wonderful. Newly discovered Ji min Yoon has really lovely artwork.

Cats / The neighbourhood grey cat that is a little chubby, but very friendly and sweet. This cat right here and here.